We hear a lot about organizational culture these days. Specifically, how important the role of culture plays in the overall success of an organization. We hear about how leaders are supposed to create a culture that is desirable. Not to mention, by now, we’ve all heard that organizations should be investing in “culture”. What we don’t hear a lot about is a definition of what this word “culture” means, and how we are supposed to invest in it. It’s important to be able to define culture because one thing we know for sure is that “culture” is not just a buzzword anymore.
Last week I read an article in Inc. magazine that got me thinking about culture… again. The article discussed Laszlo Block’s recent LinkedIn post. In case you didn’t know, Laszlo Block is Google’s former long-time head of HR. During his tenure, Google grew from 6,000 employees to 76,000 employees. Significant, right? As such, I think it’s safe to assume that Block may know a thing or two about organizational culture.
We’ve all heard stories about the “Google culture”. In fact, you could argue that some of the perks are so over the top that the interpretation of “Google culture” has become somewhat of a joke. Not as in, Google itself is a joke, but more like some of the perks of working for Google are so outrageous, it’s unattainable for most other organizations to consider. Think free food, on site massage therapy, and nap pods; a fantasy if you will. Further the “Google culture” is now often times interchangeable with “tech culture” in general. What struck me about the Inc. article was how Block put to rest the caricature we’ve come to joke about regarding tech culture by defining what culture really means. The contrast between what we often attribute as unattainable tech culture, and what Block, who we can likely all agree is an expert defines as culture, is so important for one reason alone; because it’s attainable in any organization. It clarifies that organizations do not have to be flush with cash or perks to create the elusive tech culture.
Block’s post does what most discussions regarding culture do not. It defines what successful organizational culture means in a real life successful example that can be applied to any organization. Block’s post claimed “failures of culture have been the single biggest destroyers of value in the last five years”. Let’s break down what that means. . Block supports his thesis with several high profile examples of cultural failures you’ve likely heard of in recent months and years. Think Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, Facebook, and others. You get the point. According to Block, successful culture is simple. It’s about making work a little more enjoyable and productive every day. The way in which he suggests accomplishing this, is by making sure there are clear values, ethics, and core principles. It’s easy to see how his examples of cultural failures lacked in this area.
So what does this mean for you? Well, in short, it means you too can create the tech culture everyone so desires. It’s not about money or power. It’s about investing in your employees. Not in free food, or on site massages, but in training to make sure every single employee and leader are clear and connected to the company values, ethics, and core principles. Through developing systems and processes to reiterate the values, ethics, and principles at every stage of the employee lifecycle. By ensuring your leaders know how to model the culture, and connect each of their employees to the culture at every level of their work. And finally, by asking your employees what’s important to them, and connecting their input to the values, ethics, and principles of the organization.
Every single organization has the ability to do this! I hereby empower you to go forth and prosper. If you would like a partner to help you take your organization to the next level of employee engagement and alignment to culture, reach out to us via our Techpeopleresources.com contact page, by phone, or through any of our social media platforms which can be found on our website.
Your employees will thank you!
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